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Climate Ed Eval Week: John Baek on Online Collection of Climate Knowledge Assessment Items

Hi! This is John Baek and I am the Education Evaluator in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Education. NOAA is a member of the tri-agency climate change education collaboration with NASA and NSF. As a part of the tri-agency evaluation community, my colleague Susan Lynds (CIRES) and I identified a need for high-quality content knowledge assessments for climate change education projects. Over the past six months we’ve been prototyping and crowdsourcing on an online item bank of climate science assessments. So far we’ve collected 75 multiple-choice items.

Lessons Learned:

  • We chose to focus only on multiple-choice items and only focus on content knowledge. By narrowing our focus, it only took a few weeks to get something working. If others are interested in expanding the item bank and being responsible for those collections, you are more than welcome to join us.
  • Keywords and metadata are really important for making an item bank searchable, especially if the item bank gets large. We coded each multiple-choice item using a set of categories of climate science topics developed by the CLEAN Network. The CLEAN website is a curated and reviewed collection of educational resources in climate and energy science.


Hot Tips: Think grassroots. Just get started and develop a minimum viable product that is focused on the core function. Yes, an online database would make this better, but Google Forms and Spreadsheets do the job. It’s easier to use and free!

Rad Resources:

  • Google Forms and Spreadsheets has been a great tool to rapidly prototype with working group members that are geographically dispersed. I would rough out a form in D.C. and Susan could test it immediately in Colorado. As the prototype got more stable, Google’s sharing features made it easy to expand the pool of collaborators.
  • Terascore.com is an online assessment tool that I considered as a possible tool for sharing items and even collecting data. We’ve shelved the idea, but I think this tool has great potential. Here’s the link to my account in Terascore with sample item bank questions.

Get Involved: Want to contribute or use the item bank? Contact John Baek at john.baek@noaa.gov.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Climate Education Evaluators week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from members who work in a Tri-Agency Climate Education Evaluators group. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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